Gommendy to return to Le Mans 24 Hours with Alpine LMP2 team
|By Gary Watkins||Monday, March 25th 2013, 11:14 GMT|
Former Superleague regular Tristan Gommendy is returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Alpine LMP2 team after a two-year absence.
The Frenchman, who made the last of his three previous Le Mans starts with Welter Racing in 2010, will share Alpine's Signatech-run ORECA-Nissan 03 with Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues, who will contest the European Le Mans Series in the car.
The deal marks a return to the fold of Signatech boss Philippe Sinault for Gommendy, who drove for the sister Signature team in Formula Renault V6 in 2003.
Gommendy contested only a handful of races in the VdeV Group CN prototype series last year.
"There are big emotions in France connected with the return of Alpine to Le Mans," he said. "I am very proud to be in this car for the 24 Hours.
"I have kept in touch with Philippe over the years and many times he wanted to put me in one of his cars, but there were always budget problems. This deal was slightly different."
Gommendy is testing the Alpine-liveried LMP2 at Paul Ricard on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. He revealed that there was a chance he could race a proposed second Alpine entry in the European Le Mans Series later in the season.
A return to single-seaters looks unlikely for Gommendy, the 2002 French Formula 3 Champion who also raced in GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 and Champ Car.
"I have looked at getting back into single-seaters in the US [in IndyCars] but without a lot of money, it is impossible," he explained.
Formula Renault Eurocup graduate Paul-Loup Chatin has been announced as the Alpine squad's fourth or junior driver. He would be involved in plans for a second car later in the season.